By Nick Miles
Double glazing is great—but expensive. Installing new insulation will you’re your house warm—but it’s a major job. With energy costs rising around the globe and with winters becoming harsher in some countries, it’s more essential now than ever to get creative with keeping the heat in. Here are our Top Ten Tips for not only a warmer home, but a fatter bank account this winter.
1. Treat Your Feet
Carpeting can be smelly, full of chemicals, and a dust-magnet, but in winter, covered floorboards keep a house cosy. What to do? Buy a nice, thick rug. It will act as a kind of ‘sweater’ for your house, keeping heat in, and also makes your feet warmer, too–just make sure you choose an eco-friendly option, like one of these.
2. The Door Snake
An oldie but a goodie, the long ‘sausage’ that goes between the crack at the bottom of the door and the floor is a perfect draught stopper, and you can easily make one yourself: just take an old pair of nylons, cut off at the crotch, fill up with sand, lentils or rice, tie off the end, and voila! The draught is gone.
3. Shimmery Silvers
Using a simple household product—tinfoil—behind radiators, especially those on external walls, will reflect heat back into the room, rather than having the walls absorb it. Whilst thick kitchen foil is ok, it’s a bit unsightly, so it may be better to buy something like this, which is also more effective.
4. Dramatic Drapes
It’s common in European capitals to see thick velvet curtains draped in front of restaurant and shop doors to keep out draughts, but these are just as effective in your home, too. Make sure the fabric is thick, and goes from the top of the door all the way to the floor for maximum efficiency. Bonus: they lend some continental flare to any room!
5. Free Energy
Sunlight is a free mood booster and room heater. During short winter days, make sure your entire house is as flooded with it as possible. Not only will you benefit from the free solar power, but your plants will thank you, too.
6. Close the Door!
It seems obvious, but if you’re not in a room, keep the door closed—this will contain the heat you’ve generated in one room, and stop cold air from moving around the house.
7. Safely Sealed
Make sure heat isn’t escaping through cracks between your windowsills or from the sides of your doors—a common problem in older houses. There are lots of good silicon based pastes that can be fitted around windows to shut the cracks up, but there are also brush-strips you can buy at hardware stores that do the job under doors, at the bottoms of windows, and even around front door mail slots, too.
8. Chilly Chimneys
Fireplaces are a nice touch to any room, but if they are not being used, plug them up. Much heat is lost up the chimney, unless a chimney balloon is inflated to shut out incoming cold air and stop outgoing heat.. There are also woollen chimney insulators on the market. But again, make sure you remove them before starting any fires.
9. Move it!
It seems obvious, but you should never place large pieces of furniture in front of radiators, as they will block and absorb any heat generated. Ensure that space around radiators is cleared, and if you have central heating ducts, make sure no furniture is on top of them.
10. Shelf It
Having a shelf above the radiator helps channel heat, especially in houses with high ceilings. This trick works especially well with radiators in front of windows.
11. Terrific Timers
Buying a thermostat with a timer setting is vital to saving energy. Nest can be controlled remotely, so you can turn off the heat when you leave the house and turn it on a few minutes before returning home, to ensure you save energy and stay cosy. For more energy saving gadgets and ideas, click here.
For more ideas, check out this infographic: